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Tarrant County Stage 2 Water Restrictions Possible, Despite Lower Demand

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
Bud is the most veteran reporter at CBS 11 News with 42 years in m...
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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - As we hit the traditional end of summer, North Texas’ water resources seem to be holding their own despite hot weather demands. While two of the three major water suppliers are restricting use, demand is actually dropping.

The Tarrant Regional Water District is in Stage-1 restrictions; meaning you can use lawn irrigation systems only twice a week. And while it’s halfway to a possible Stage-2, it may not get there this year because consumer use is down.

That’s because of actions of people like homeowner Peter Sirianni, who uses only his sprinkler system.   “It’s (twice a week) sufficient for the type lawns we have out here.”   Sirianni selects grass and flowers that require very little watering.  “Because I know sooner or later water restrictions are coming,” he says with a laugh.

But perhaps not this year.

“Our demands are lower at this time of year than what we would anticipate normally,” Mark Olson of the Tarrant Regional Water District tells CBS 11 News.

Charts from the district show demand this summer is the third lowest in the last decade, down 50-100 million gallons a day from last year.  This even though the season started with levels in the district’s four reservoirs at levels lower than during the during the landmark drought year of 2011, the last year Stage-1 restrictions were imposed here.   Some credit, he says, goes to the Lawn Whisperer campaign it shares with Dallas Water Utilities.  “And we have noticed it is having an impact, people are being educated.”

Still, users are not yet out of the proverbial woods.  When asked if it’s likely Stage-2 will be implemented, Olson responded, “I can’t say with any certainty whether we’re going to reach Stage-2 before the end of the year or not.   But I can say if we do not get any rainfall, at some point in the next few months that Stage-2 would definitely be a possibility.”

News from other suppliers is heartening.  The North Texas Municipal Water District has been in Stage-3 once-a-week restrictions because of Zebra Mussel problems with its largest source, Lake Texoma.  Still, users exceeded its goal of using 10% less water this June and July compared to 2012. Cities served by Dallas system have no restrictions but urge water conservation anyway.

Tarrant County homeowner Jerry Munckton got the message.  “If people don’t conserve there will be major problems down the road. So I think it’s very critical that people adhere to the restrictions.”

High water use isn’t the only challenge in the summer. Olson observes that evaporation sucks up about an inch a day from the district’s four reservoirs.

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